Do you guys suffer from Thursday Syndrome like I do? Symptoms include dry refrigerator, a shriveled vegetable supply, and feelings of guilt-fueled resistance to ordering in or going out. (That’s what Friday is for, you weakling!) Lucky for all of us there is a cure, and it involves a combination of the six magical grocery items below, all of which you have in your pantry already since I told you to shop for them a few days ago. (Right?)
1. Whole Wheat Pasta
3. Frozen Spinach
4. Canned or Frozen Artichokes
I find if I have nothing else but these long-lasting pantry friends in the kitchen (plus a few basics like olive oil, soy sauce, and Parm) I can almost always churn out a fast, healthy meal that will bridge me to the weekend. Here are five of those meals below. Please feel free to recommend any combinations I’m forgetting. I can always use more meds…I mean ideas.
Option 1: Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes (shown above). Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Remove from pot and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. In the same pot, add a few good glugs of olive oil, half a chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add a handful of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped), a handful of spinach (thawed, squeezed dry), salt and pepper, and stir together until heated through. Toss with pasta and serve with Parm.
Option 2: Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Meanwhile, in a skillet over low heat, cook 2-3 onions (sliced or chopped) in olive oil on low heat for as long as humanly possible so they get nice and caramelized. Divide pasta into bowls and top with onions, a massive mound of grated Parmesan, and more olive oil.
Option 3: Quinoa with Fried Egg, Spinach, and Soy Sauce. In my house, this falls under the “After Hours” category, as in: Our kids won’t eat it, so we save it for those nights when we eat after they go to bed. If the recipe sounds familiar it’s cause I wrote about it here last spring.
Option 4: Spinach and Onion Omelet with a side of Quinoa. In a bowl, whisk together four eggs, salt, pepper, a splash of water. Cook a few sliced onions in olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Remove, then add eggs and let sit like a pancake until eggs are slightly firm. (But poke holes in the middle or pull in the sides and tilt the pan to allow egg on top to mostly cook through.) Add onions, grated Parm, and a few pinches of spinach (thawed, squeezed dry) down the center third of the omelet and fold in each side on top of the fillings. Flip over to seal and cook for another minute until filling has heated through. Serve with quinoa that has been tossed with olive oil, Parm, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if you have it.
Option 5: Spaghetti Omelet. OK, I’m slightly cheating here, because this one involves leftover pasta. (Do not try it with freshly made pasta. It won’t work.) Fry leftover, un-sauced spaghetti in olive oil over medium heat. Add salt and cook for five minutes until crispy on the bottom. Add a few slices of onion (scallions if you have them; and parsley if it’s not liquefied in bottom of crisper) then flip like a pancake. Add some Parmesan and 3 to 4 eggs. (You can beat them first or just crack them into the pan.) Cook until the eggs are done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve like a pizza, cut into wedges. (My friend Adam gave us this recipe years ago. In the original email he sent, he also recommended “a nice Sancerre” to go along with it.)